Two runaway lions sparked panic in a Chinese zoo after an absent-minded zoo-keeper forget to close their cages after cleaning them out.

The big cats, one male and one female, escaped from Chongqing zoo and ran through the zoo grounds, scattering families

Riot police were deployed along with snipers armed with tranquilliser darts to help recapture the animals.

The lioness was found after an hour of stretching her legs but the male evaded capture for four hours.

"We found the female first and subdued her with a tranquilliser gun but the male took longer to find and bring back," a zoo spokesman said.

"They both recovered quickly and are no worse off for their adventure."

The escaped provoked chaos and the zoo was put into lockdown until the lions were safely back behind bars.

A zoo official apologised but said: "You can't blame the lions. It was human error and they naturally took advantage of it."

One million visitors visit the zoo each year. It houses approximately 2,000 animals from 200 species.


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